The 25th annual Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock will have a special significance for Tiffany Parton.
The executive director of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police, Parton will take part in the two-week, 1,200-kilometre tour down Vancouver Island, to raise money for childhood cancer services and research.
She will cycle in honour of the dozens of children she met through her work who lost their lives to cancer.
“It is not just the closing of a job chapter,” she said. “Yes, I represent police, but it is also so personal to me in so many ways.”
The event is close to her heart due to her history organizing three tours and fundraising for the Canadian Cancer Society. This year, she will also ride on behalf of municipal and RCMP senior leadership.
This year’s Tour de Rock kicks off with summer fundraising events such as live music at the Malahat Skywalk, before cyclists begin their tour on Sept. 24.
Parton’s call to action for Islanders: make a donation if you can this year, because COVID-19 limited the Canadian Cancer Society’s work during the past two years.
The pandemic halted some services for children who live with cancer, such as in-person summer camps designed for their medical needs.
Due to the decline in donations, the Canadian Cancer Society had to close its Vancouver Island offices and lay off hundreds of staff nation-wide, Parton said. With a decrease in funding, research on cancer treatment slowed during the past two years, she added.
Before moving to Vancouver Island in 2015, she already knew many of the area families affected by childhood cancer through her work for the society.
Much of Parton’s work centered on Ronald McDonald House — a place that hosts children travelling to Vancouver for treatment with their families— and there she met more than 30 youngsters with cancer who later died from the disease.
“I witnessed their entire cancer journey from start to finish,” Parton said. “As a mom it is hard to watch because you relate everything back to your own family. It is hard to watch someone go through that with a child, nothing can explain that experience.
“Knowing I could have an impact of their day-to-day life in Ronald McDonald House, or with Cops for Cancer, keeps me going.”
People can donate directly online, or attend one of the hundreds of fundraising events at locations such as grocery stores and fairgrounds.
On Aug. 13, Islanders can visit the Malahat Skywalk to enjoy a live music event and the skywalk will donate $2 for each adult ticket purchased.
Parton is also co-ordinating the tour’s partnership with Cobble Hill’s Drumroaster Coffee, which is selling coffee for the 25th anniversary. Drumroaster will donate varying portions of the purchase to the tour, including a $10 donation for a 12-ounce bag of coffee.
Organizers and tour cyclists— including Parton — will be at the skywalk event beginning at 2 p.m.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, people have donated more than $146,000 to the 2022 tour so far, which is roughly 17 per cent of its $850,000 goal. During the last quarter century, the tour has raised more than $26 million.
More information about Tour de Rock events is available online at www.tourderock.ca.